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The Game Plan: Week 3 Edition (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Kyle Yates | @KyleYNFL | Featured Writer
Sep 23, 2021
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Let’s talk about some football, and how we’re going to win fantasy matchups this week.

Keep fighting, Tags.

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CAR at HOU | LAC at KC | ARI at JAC | CHI at CLE | WAS at BUF | IND at TEN | NO at NE | ATL at NYG | CIN at PIT | BAL at DET | NYJ at DEN | MIA at LV | TB at LAR | SEA at MIN | GB at SF | PHI at DAL |

Carolina Panthers vs Houston Texans

Date/Time: Thursday September 23, 8:20pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Panthers -7.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 44 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Panthers 25.75, Texans 18.25

Carolina Panthers

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Sam Darnold 22/32 249 2.7 0.65 13 0.1 21
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Christian McCaffrey 20 82 0.7 7 71 0.6 26.51
RB Chuba Hubbard 4 16 0.15 0 0 0 2.54
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR D.J. Moore 0 0 0 5 59 0.7 12.58
WR Robby Anderson 0 0 0 3 55 0.6 10.73
WR Terrace Marshall Jr. 0 0 0 3 23 0.45 6.44
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Dan Arnold 0 0 0 3 24 0.35 5.89

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Houston Texans

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Davis Mills 22/33 223 1.55 1.2 21 0.25 16
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Mark Ingram II 12 45 0.4 1 6 0.05 8.19
RB David Johnson 2 8 0.1 3 30 0.1 6.54
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Brandin Cooks 0 0 0 6 69 0.4 12.51
WR Danny Amendola 0 0 0 3 20 0.25 4.97
WR Chris Conley 0 0 0 2 24 0.2 4.47
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Pharaoh Brown 0 0 0 3 40 0.3 7.42

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Quarterback

Carolina: Sam Darnold looked purely like a game manager in week one against the Jets, but he was able to open things up a bit more in week two and actually put together a solid performance against the defense that had just completely shut down Aaron Rodgers. Darnold was able to hit the 300-yard benchmark while averaging 8.0 Yards Per Attempt and found the end zone twice. Looking forward to week three, Houston’s allowing an average of two passing touchdowns per game so far and Darnold could easily return value as a streaming option in this matchup. There are some better options you can pivot to this week, but if you’re in a pinch, Darnold should be available on your waiver wire to scoop up and play.

Houston: Davis Mills is going to get the nod here as the starting QB for the Texans in week three with Tyrod Taylor ruled out with a hamstring injury. With the surrounding cast he has around him – plus the seemingly difficult matchup – Mills shouldn’t be considered for starting lineups in week three.

Running Backs

Carolina: While Christian McCaffrey had a massive game last week against New Orleans, it could’ve been even more impressive than Derrick Henry‘s performance. CMC was brought down at the one or two-yard line on multiple occasions last week, which if he was just a couple feet further would’ve meant a ridiculous outing. At this point, there’s no reason we should doubt McCaffrey finishing the season as the No. 1 fantasy football option again. He’s seeing a workload like no other RB in the league and he’s reminding everyone why he’s truly one of – if not the – best RB in the entire NFL. Against the Houston Texans that saw Nick Chubb rumble for 95 yards and a score on them last week, CMC’s back in the RB1 spot in my weekly rankings.

Houston: If you had told me before the start of the season that Mark Ingram would have more carries through two weeks than David Montgomery, I would’ve told you that you were beyond insane. However, that’s where we’re at right now with the NFL and this already wacky season. While Ingram is receiving the majority of the workload for the Houston Texans, it’s still not equating to reliable fantasy production. Ingram saw 14 carries against the Browns in week two, but it only resulted in 41 yards and no score. If you’re in an absolute pinch, Ingram can be picked up off of the waiver wire and started, but he presents little to no upside any given week. David Johnson has seen 14 touches through the first two weeks and he’s failing to do much with that limited opportunity. At this point, Johnson can be dropped to your waiver wire if you haven’t done so already. Phillip Lindsay found the end zone again in week two, but he only received six total touches. This is too small of a workload for us to rely on him for fantasy football in any way and he can be kept on your league’s waiver wire.

Wide Receivers

Carolina: Through two weeks, DJ Moore now has 19 targets, 14 receptions, 159 receiving yards, and a touchdown to his name. He’s putting on a show this season and reminding everyone why he’s one of the more underrated WRs in the entire league. He’s averaging 2.21 Yards Per Route Run, he’s averaging 3.8 Yards After Catch/Reception, and he’s thriving in contested situations as well with a 75% Contested Catch Rate. The Texans are not going to have an answer for Moore this week and he should continue to see a significant target share in this offense. You can start him as a mid-range WR2 with upside yet again. In 2020, Robby Anderson was a fantasy football steal due to the target volume he was seeing in this Carolina offense. Fast forward to 2021 and it hasn’t been as smooth for the veteran wideout. He’s now only seen eight targets through two games, which equates to a mere 10.9% target share. He still has the big play potential that we saw during his time in New York, so he’ll still have value as a FLEX option week in and week out. However, the days of us viewing Anderson as a sure-fire WR2 seem to be behind us. Against the Texans, we could see a big play or two from Anderson, but the floor is a bit lower than we might want to see. He can be viewed as a low-end WR3/high-end FLEX play for week three. Terrace Marshall has remained involved in this Panthers offense through the first two games, but there’s a clear hierarchy here when it comes to targets. CMC and Moore are at the top of the food chain and Marshall, Anderson, etc. are all left vying for the leftovers. Unless we see Moore miss time with an injury, Marshall’s probably not worth considering for your starting lineups even in deeper leagues.

Houston: Previously, there had been some discussion centering around the other receiving options that the Texans have on their roster. There was the potential that someone else could step up and take advantage of the projected passing volume if the Texans were playing from behind a lot. However, those discussions should be happening no longer after what we witnessed in week two from this offense. Brandin Cooks saw a 48% target share in week two, which resulted in 14 total targets. The next highest target share on the team resulted in two total targets. Cooks has shattered expectations every single place he has been throughout his career and he’s doing it again here in Houston this season. He now has more targets on the season than Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel, DJ Moore, etc., and is performing well with the opportunity. Cooks can be viewed as a safe high-end WR3 again this week.

Tight Ends

Carolina: Dan Arnold saw his usage tick up this past week against New Orleans and he reeled in 3 catches for 55 yards. With that being said, it’s still not enough volume to comfortably rely on the veteran TE for fantasy purposes. He can remain on your league’s waiver wire.

Houston: None of the Texans TEs should be considered for fantasy football this week.

FantasyProjection Buster: Davis Mills wasn’t very high in my pre-draft rankings based on his college tape. If he hasn’t progressed at all during his time on the bench, this entire Texans offense could struggle to move the ball.

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Los Angeles Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs

Date/Time: Sunday September 26, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Chiefs -6.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 55.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Chiefs 31, Chargers 24.5

Los Angeles Chargers

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Justin Herbert 26/38 267 2.4 1 17 0.2 21
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Austin Ekeler 12 54 0.6 5 34 0.25 16.41
RB Justin Jackson 6 24 0.2 2 8 0.1 5.72
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Keenan Allen 0 0 0 7 84 0.55 15.16
WR Mike Williams 0 0 0 6 59 0.6 12.43
WR Jalen Guyton 0 0 0 1 23 0.15 3.92
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Jared Cook 0 0 0 4 41 0.6 9.63

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Kansas City Chiefs

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Patrick Mahomes II 23/35 284 3.2 0.65 20 0.4 27
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire 14 54 0.4 3 23 0.25 13
RB Darrel Williams 2 10 0.4 1 10 0.05 5.34
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Tyreek Hill 0 0 0 6 92 1 18.29
WR Mecole Hardman 0 0 0 2 28 0.55 7.21
WR Demarcus Robinson 0 0 0 2 20 0.15 3.84
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Travis Kelce 0 0 0 7 85 1 17.79

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Quarterback

Los Angeles: Justin Herbert seemed to be in a prime spot to explode last week against the Cowboys, but the game turned into more of a defensive duel than many anticipated. The BettingPros Consensus Over/Under was set at 54.5 points and only 37 total were scored. Herbert struggled to take care of the football and had two interceptions to only one touchdown, but he did salvage his fantasy output with 338 passing yards. (Fun fact: Herbert had 337 yards passing in week one and 338 in week two). On the season, Herbert has now thrown only two touchdowns to three interceptions, which is a huge concern for fantasy managers that drafted him as a top-8 QB. Up against Kansas City, who have forced three interceptions so far on the season, there are reasons to be skeptical about Herbert returning top-12 value. We need to see something different from Herbert here quickly. Otherwise, fantasy managers are going to start having to look for a better option out there. He can be viewed as a high-end QB2 this week.

Kansas City: It’s incredibly difficult for a player to be drafted as the first player at their position group in fantasy drafts and remain at that spot throughout the season. We see a ton of turnover typically in fantasy football leagues and players are consistently shuffling out of the RB1 spot, the QB1 spot, etc. but Patrick Mahomes is absolutely still the consensus QB1 in all of fantasy football. Through two weeks, Mahomes is averaging 340 passing yards and three touchdowns. What he’s done up to this point of his young NFL career is nothing short of remarkable and he’s worth viewing as a top-2 option yet again this week, despite a bit of a tougher matchup against the Chargers.

Running Backs

Los Angeles: It’s okay, people! All is right with the world! Austin Ekeler got back to being involved as a receiver out of the backfield in week two and saw his usual nine targets. He reeled in all nine of them for 61 yards and ended with a very respectable 2.26 Yards Per Route Run. He also logged nine rush attempts on the ground for 54 yards and showed off his elusiveness on several instances, logging four Forced Missed Tackles. While Ekeler left the game for a little bit after being evaluated for a concussion, he was able to return, and should be all systems go for week three against the Chiefs. The Chiefs have been gashed on the ground so far this season, allowing four rushing touchdowns in week one and three in week two to Lamar Jackson and Latavius Murray. Ekeler stands a very good chance of finding the end zone this week and he should continue to be heavily featured as a receiver out of the backfield. He can be viewed as a low-end RB1. After being involved in week one as the complementary back to Ekeler, Larry Rountree was barely utilized in week two and logged just 10 total snaps. At this point, it’s looking like Ekeler is going to be the main option in this backfield moving forward and there’s not going to be much left over for any other pieces. Rountree remains just an insurance RB for the time being. Justin Jackson wasn’t utilized much in week one – only 11 total snaps – but he saw his opportunities increase this past week against Dallas. Looking forward, this offense just might be Ekeler’s and Ekeler’s alone, which makes Rountree and Jackson insurance options at best.

Kansas City: Have we finally reached the end of the road for hope that Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be an RB1 for fantasy football? CEH is seeing a respectable amount of work and we know that the offense he’s in could lead to tremendous production for fantasy lineups, but it seems highly unlikely that we’re ever going to see Edwards-Helaire be given the most valuable opportunities that translate to top-tier fantasy production. Through two weeks, CEH has a mere three targets despite being one of the best pass-catching RBs in the league. Additionally, fantasy managers watched in a panic on Sunday Night Football as Darrel Williams got the goal-line carry over CEH, which means that he’s unlikely to ever see the rushing TD production we hoped to see when he entered the NFL and was drafted to the Chiefs in the first round. He will still be a very valuable RB2 moving forward, but unless we see Edwards-Helaire break away a long touchdown run or take one of his few targets to the house, he’s unlikely to ever break the top-12. He can be viewed as a mid-range/low-end RB2 this week against the Chargers.

Wide Receivers

Los Angeles: Keenan Allen exploded for a fantastic performance in week one against a tough matchup and he put together another 100+-yard outing this past week against Dallas. Allen is now averaging 104 yards and 10 targets per game, which is exactly what fantasy managers want to see from their star WR. While Herbert’s struggles have prevented Allen from returning max value on those opportunities, he’s still getting the job done for fantasy football in the meantime. Allen should be featured again this week against Kansas City and he can be viewed as an extremely safe high-end WR2. Mike Williams has been dominant through the first two weeks of the season. He’s now averaging 11 targets, 7.5 receptions, 86.5 receiving yards, and one touchdown per contest. He’s become an integral part of this offense – as evidenced by his 25.3% team target share – and he’s excelling with the increased opportunity. Against the Chiefs, who are allowing 267 passing yards per game, Williams should be in line for another big performance. He can be viewed as a high-end WR3 in week three.

Kansas City: It’s not very often that you see Tyreek Hill finish with fewer fantasy points than three other Kansas City Chiefs WRs, but that’s what happened last week. Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson each found the end zone and Hardman reeled in five catches for 55 yards, while Hill only went 3-14-0. Even with this massively disappointing performance, Hill is still averaging seven receptions for 106 yards and .5 touchdowns per game because of his incredible outing in week one. These types of games are few and far between for Hill and he should be safely viewed as a consensus top-5 WR again for week three. Hardman was able to put together a solid fantasy day in week two, but this happened with Hill being barely involved in the offense. The targets will begin to funnel back towards Hill in future weeks, which makes Hardman an inconsistent option for fantasy lineups moving forward. He can be viewed as a low-end FLEX option.

Tight Ends

Los Angeles: Jared Cook had a fantastic outing in week one, but disappointed on the stat sheet in week two as he went 3-28-0. However, Cook was a penalty flag away from finding the end zone in week two as he had a touchdown called back due to an illegal shift. Cook has now seen 13 targets through two contests and he’s being used enough as a receiver (60 total Receiving Routes Run so far) for us to continue to believe in him for fantasy purposes. In a game that could quickly turn into a shootout, Cook can be viewed as a low-end TE1.

Kansas City: At this point of the season, Travis Kelce has 43 fantasy points in Half PPR scoring formats. This would be enough to slot him in at the WR3 spot in all of fantasy football behind only Cooper Kupp (52.6 points) and Tyler Lockett (51.8 points). Kelce’s essentially unstoppable and is one of the most dominant fantasy TE options we’ve ever seen. As if you were questioning it, he can be viewed as the TE1 yet again this week.

FantasyProjection Buster: At this point, CEH’s projections are very difficult to nail down. If he doesn’t get the receiving workload he should, he’s unlikely to finish with what I’ve given him above.

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Arizona Cardinals

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Kyler Murray 24/32 301 2.9 0.6 39 0.95 32
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Chase Edmonds 8 39 0.15 4 39 0.3 12.52
RB James Conner 10 41 0.25 1 6 0.1 7.22
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR DeAndre Hopkins 0 0 0 6 88 0.95 17.67
WR Rondale Moore 0 0 0 5 69 0.4 11.62
WR Christian Kirk 0 0 0 4 52 0.65 10.92
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Maxx Williams 0 0 0 1 16 0.35 4.42

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Jacksonville Jaguars

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Trevor Lawrence 23/36 227 2.15 1.8 10 0.2 16
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB James Robinson 10 43 0.35 3 21 0.3 11.85
RB Carlos Hyde 3 12 0.25 2 8 0.1 4.86
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 0 0 0 5 59 0.65 12.32
WR Laviska Shenault Jr. 1 5 0 4 36 0.4 8.56
WR D.J. Chark Jr. 0 0 0 3 43 0.4 8.21
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE James O’Shaughnessy 0 0 0 3 20 0.15 4.18

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Quarterback

Arizona: Well, through two games Murray is averaging 345 passing yards and 3.5 passing touchdowns. Additionally, he’s also adding on an average of 25.5 rushing yards and one touchdown just for the fun of it. He’s been unstoppable through two weeks and he now gets to take on the defense that is 28th in the league in Pass DVOA. The Jaguars are allowing 295.5 passing yards per game and there’s a very strong possibility that Murray has another QB1 fantasy finish in this one. Jacksonville doesn’t stand a chance of slowing down this Cardinals passing attack and we could be in line for another monstrous performance from Murray.

Jacksonville: It hasn’t been exactly great for Trevor Lawrence in his first two NFL games. The Jaguars have now been outscored 60-34 through their first two contests and this offense seems to be going nowhere fast. Lawrence now has an abysmal 50% completion rate on the season to go with four touchdowns to five interceptions, along with a mediocre 5.4 YPA. He’s also rushing much less than fantasy managers anticipated coming into the NFL, which was going to be part of his fantasy stock, and he was valued so highly in redraft leagues right off the bat. Unfortunately, Lawrence cannot be trusted in starting lineups moving forward until we start to see the offense improve. He can be viewed as a low-end QB2 for week three.

Running Backs

Arizona: Chase Edmonds has been a very reliable fantasy asset for managers so far this season. Through two games, he is now the RB20 on the season in Half PPR scoring formats and he’s providing a very safe floor week in and week out with his receiving workload. Edmonds and the Cardinals now get to take on the Jaguars defense that is allowing the 4th most fantasy points to opposing RBs so far this season and we should feel very comfortable starting Edmonds this week as a mid-range/low-end RB2. James Conner has filled a reliable role for Arizona so far this season, but it’s not necessarily translating to consistent fantasy production. He hasn’t been very efficient with his 24 total carries – 3.3 YPC – and he has yet to record any Breakaway Yards on the year. Breakaway Yards is a stat measured by PFF that records rushing yardage off of 15+ yard runs. He is simply taking what the defense gives him up to this point, which normally means that we shouldn’t look his way for fantasy purposes. However, Conner does get to take on the Jaguars defense this week that allowed the Houston Texans to run all over them in week one. With the projected game script, Conner could be in line for a more significant workload this week and he could be used around the goal-line. A lot of things have to line up for Conner to be a top-30 RB, but this is about as good of a situation for him as any. He can be viewed as a mid-range RB3 this week against Jacksonville.

Jacksonville: To quote Slinky from Toy Story 2 – I have a three-year-old son and this is the only movie we ever watch, cut me some slack – “I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.” James Robinson dominated the carry share in week two after seeing only five carries in week one. He ran the ball 11 times in week two as compared to Carlos Hyde‘s two rush attempts, so this is good news for fantasy managers that spent a higher pick on Robinson. The bad news is that it didn’t amount to much and he finished as the RB29 on the week. Robinson should continue to see the majority of the touches in this offense moving forward, but if the offense is going to struggle this much, it’s not going to equate to a ton of fantasy production. Robinson can be viewed as a high-end RB3 this week in a tough matchup against the Arizona Cardinals that ranks 6th in Total DVOA.

Wide Receivers

Arizona: DeAndre Hopkins is performing exactly how fantasy managers hoped he would when they drafted him as a top-5 WR off the board. He’s the WR6 on the season up to this point and he’s found the end zone in back-to-back games to begin the year. With the way this Cardinals offense is performing, Hopkins has a very good chance of finishing the season as the overall WR1 if his target share and red zone opportunities continue. Looking ahead to week three, Hopkins is expected to draw coverage from C.J. Henderson in this matchup, who is allowing an 83% catch rate so far this season and 1.12 Yards Per Route Covered. The Jaguars secondary is going to have their hands full with the plethora of receiving weapons Arizona boats, which means that Hopkins is going to have plenty of one-on-one opportunities this week. He can be viewed as a top-5 option yet again. Christian Kirk has been superb for the Cardinals so far this season. With 88% of his snaps coming out of the slot, Kirk is finally in the position he needs to find fantasy success and it’s translating on the field. He’s boasting a ridiculous 88.9% catch rate so far and 16.9 Yards Per Reception to go with an 18.1 ADOT. He now gets to take on the Jaguars defense that is allowing the 12th most fantasy points to the WR position and we should easily see Murray throw for 300+ yards again this week. If that’s the case, Kirk belongs in your starting lineup as a solid high-end FLEX play. AJ Green was able to find the end zone last week and he actually saw a reliable 17.6% target share in that game. With that being said, he still only had a 50% catch rate on his targets and 44 total receiving yards. He’ll have his moments of relevancy here or there throughout the season, but we know at this point not to trust Green week in and week out. He can be viewed only as a FLEX play in 14-team leagues or bigger. Rondale Moore has been a revelation for fantasy managers so far this season. He’s the WR19 on the entire year up to this point and is producing ridiculous numbers for a rookie WR. With the offense being as high-powered as it is, Moore has been able to take advantage of his limited snap share and make an impact for fantasy lineups. He only has an ADOT of 3.9 yards on the entire season, but he’s averaging a ridiculous 14.3 YAC/Reception. In fact, 157 of Moore’s 183 receiving yards have come after the catch. In this matchup against the Jaguars, who have struggled to slow down opposing passing games like Houston and Denver, Moore should be in line for another big performance. He can be viewed as a high-end FLEX play with massive upside.

Jacksonville: At this point, we might be moving towards Marvin Jones being the only Jacksonville Jaguars WR that you want to start in fantasy lineups this season. DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault have failed to make any sort of impact with their opportunity this season in a bad offense and they’re falling outside of the low-end FLEX conversation in my rankings. Meanwhile, Jones is proving that he’s the only reliable option in this Jaguars passing game and he’s getting the job done for fantasy football. He’s now averaging 9.5 targets, 5.5 receptions, 66 receiving yards, and one touchdown per game and is the WR15 up to this point. The Cardinals defense should give this Jaguars passing game a fit on Sunday, but Jones has proven that he can succeed despite a tougher matchup and inconsistent QB play. He can be viewed as a high-end WR3 in week three.

Tight Ends

Arizona: Maxx Williams has always had the talent to be a factor for fantasy football, but this offense in Arizona is not exactly known for featuring their TEs. Williams exploded in week two – on essentially every league’s waiver wire – but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a trustworthy start in week three. Williams is worth picking up in deeper leagues to see what could potentially happen, but we can’t start him in our fantasy lineups just yet.

Jacksonville: None of the Jaguars’ TEs should be considered for fantasy football this week.

FantasyProjection Buster: Maxx Williams seemed to be an integral part of this offense last week, but I’m not sure if I buy that moving forward just yet.

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Chicago Bears vs Cleveland Browns

Date/Time: Sunday September 26, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Browns -7.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 46.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Browns 27, Bears 19.5

Chicago Bears

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Justin Fields 20/31 215 1.95 0.75 36 0.55 22
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB David Montgomery 17 82 0.5 2 13 0.1 13.92
RB Damien Williams 4 17 0.05 3 17 0.05 5.27
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Allen Robinson II 0 0 0 5 56 0.65 11.81
WR Darnell Mooney 0 0 0 4 54 0.55 10.76
WR Marquise Goodwin 0 0 0 2 24 0.1 3.84
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Cole Kmet 0 0 0 3 32 0.2 6.04

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Cleveland Browns

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Baker Mayfield 17/27 212 2.15 0.55 10 0.15 18
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Nick Chubb 17 99 0.95 1 12 0.1 18.02
RB Kareem Hunt 11 45 0.6 2 16 0.2 11.93
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Odell Beckham Jr. 0 0 0 4 50 0.65 10.64
WR Anthony Schwartz 0 0 0 2 39 0.35 7.2
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones 0 0 0 2 25 0.25 4.89
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Austin Hooper 0 0 0 3 25 0.4 6.22

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Quarterback

Chicago: With Andy Dalton being week-to-week with a bone bruise, Justin Fields is going to get the start here in week three against the Cleveland Browns. While Fields has shown flashes throughout the pre-season and when he stepped in last week in relief of Dalton, he’s still looking like a rookie QB out there who’s unsure of what exactly he’s looking at. While the Bears could adapt the game plan to fit Fields’ strengths and to help him not overthink things as much, it’s a bit of a risk to start Fields right out of the gates in this matchup. Fields is a fine option to look at in Superflex leagues as your QB2 because of his rushing ability, but we shouldn’t be overthinking this situation and running to plug him into our starting lineups as a streamer right away. Let’s wait and see how he does and then re-evaluate after that point.

Cleveland: Baker Mayfield was incredibly efficient last week – 90.5% completion rate – in a nicer matchup against the Houston Texans, but he has a tougher task this week against the Bears. Chicago is a top-10 unit in Total DVOA so far this season and they’re coming off a game in which they forced Joe Burrow into three interceptions. Mayfield just watched one of his most reliable receivers (Jarvis Landry) be put on Injured Reserve this week too, so the stars aren’t exactly aligning for Mayfield from a fantasy perspective and it’s probably best to adjust our expectations for him as a result. Mayfield should be viewed as a low-end QB2 this week.

Running Backs

Chicago: David Montgomery looked like a completely different RB than what we had seen previously in week one, but he came back down to earth a little bit in week two against the Bengals’ defensive front. While we know that Montgomery is going to receive a massive workload on the ground – 20 rush attempts in week two – the upside might not be there in this matchup up against the Browns defensive front-7 that is currently ranked 6th in Rush DVOA. We can view him as a safe RB2 this week because we have confidence in his carry share, but we shouldn’t be expecting a top-10 finish in this one against the defense that’s allowing only 12.5 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs.

Cleveland: Nick Chubb continues to impress as he enters his fourth season in the NFL. He’s now averaging 6.8 Yards Per Carry on the season and has 14 Missed Tackles Forced on the season, which is tied with Dalvin Cook for the most at the RB position through two games. Chubb has a tougher matchup this week against the Bears defense that is only allowing 11.7 fantasy points to opposing RBs, but he’s too talented of an RB to move too far down our rankings. Based on his talent – and the offensive line he plays behind – Chubb can be viewed as a low-end RB1 this week. Kareem Hunt is an interesting fantasy football asset. He has the potential to finish as a top-15 RB any given week due to his propensity for finding the end zone in this offense or he could completely fall outside of the top-36 if he doesn’t score a touchdown. Based on the matchup this week against the Bears defense, who is only allowing .5 rushing touchdowns per game so far this season, Hunt’s likely going to end up on my bench in the spots that I have him. He should see 10-12 touches again here, but the likelihood that he finds the end zone is fairly small. However, if the Browns are without their top-two WRs – which we don’t have clarity on at the time of writing – Hunt could see an uptick in usage in the receiving game. That could move him up rankings into a top-24 option, but otherwise, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.

Wide Receivers

Chicago: Allen Robinson found the end zone once last week – it should have been twice, but I digress – but otherwise was highly uninvolved in the game plan. Robinson is only averaging 29.5 receiving yards per game through the first two contests and he’s seen a total of 39 Air Yards. For context, Quez Watkins, Tim Patrick, Braxton Berrios, and Chester Rogers are just a few of the names that have all seen more Air Yards than ARob. We should see Robinson start to bounce back as the season moves along, but this isn’t exactly what fantasy managers wanted to see when they spent a 3rd or 4th-round pick on the veteran wideout. With Fields at QB, we should see this offense start to open up but we can’t trust Robinson as a locked-and-loaded WR1 until we see it happen on the field. He can be viewed as a low-end WR2 for this contest. Darnell Mooney has now seen a 23.8% team target share through two weeks and he saw that number jump up to 34.8% in week two against the Bengals. Fields was looking Mooney’s way regularly and we know that he has the talent to capitalize on his opportunity. Mooney and the Bears WR room gets a matchup against the Browns who are middle-of-the-pack in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts, so there’s very little reason to be concerned about starting the second-year wideout in week three. He can be viewed as a high-upside FLEX play.

Cleveland: With Jarvis Landry on IR, there’s a huge need for someone else to step up in this Browns WR corps. The good news is that it sounds like Odell Beckham Jr. is on track to play this upcoming week against Chicago. He should be in line for a significant target share in his first game back from injury, but he will most likely face coverage from Jaylon Johnson. So far this season, Johnson has posted an elite 87.1 PFF Grade and he’s allowing only a 40% catch rate through two weeks. Regardless, the Browns should be creative with how they get OBJ involved in the offense and we certainly know that he has the talent to make an impact for fantasy. In his first game back, he can be viewed as a mid-range WR3 that has the potential to move up rankings for next week if he has a solid outing here.

Tight Ends

Chicago: Cole Kmet didn’t exactly produce the way fantasy managers that started him would have hoped for in week two, but there are enough signs to still be hopeful for the young TE. Kmet has now logged 98 total snaps to Jimmy Graham‘s 36, so we know that he has this job primarily to himself. In Fields’ first start, we should see the Bears scheme up touches for Kmet to help take the pressure off of the rookie QB and we should see a bounce-back performance in this one. However, he’s merely just a deep-league start in week three due to the unknowns surrounding his workload and the inconsistency we’ve already witnessed up to this point of the season.

Cleveland: After being in a prime position to return top-15 value at the TE position in week one, Hooper disappeared and watched David Njoku outproduce him. However, once everyone moved on and put Hooper on their fantasy football benches, he came through with a solid performance in week two against the Texans. While Hooper could see an uptick in usage with the WR room banged up this week, there’s very little consistency with this TE room in Cleveland to know who to trust. Hooper’s a risky play in fantasy lineups this week, but the path is there for him to finish as a top-12 option. I recommend viewing him as a mid-range TE2 in week three.

FantasyProjection Buster: Based on my projection process, I’m capped by what Vegas’ Implied Point totals are for these respective offenses. Vegas isn’t expecting great things from Fields in week one, but if he comes out on fire, this entire offense will exceed expectations.

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